Closing Checklist … Items You’ll Need at Your Closing

Closing Checklist … Items You’ll Need at Your Closing

Okay, so now you’ve bought/sold a house and the closing is happening soon.

If it’s your first time or your first time in a long while here’s a quick primer.

If you bring the following, you should have everything you need.

  • New Deed drawn up by your attorney. (sellers)
  • Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide certificate of compliance (sellers)
  • Title V certificate of compliance (if serviced by private sewer) (sellers)
  • Final water/sewer bill, stamped paid in full (if municipal service not serviced by well) (sellers)
  • Keys and garage door openers ( leave duplicates in a drawer in the house) (sellers)
  • Copies of any paid bills or affidavits required for work done after home inspection issues were negotiated. (sellers)
  • Instruction booklets, receipts, builder drawings and anything else you have that the buyer could find very useful after moving in to your home (leave them in a drawer in the house). (sellers)
  • Copy of receipt or statement for fuel oil in the oil tank and/or propane in the propane tank (if applicable) (sellers)
  • Driver’s license or another form of personal identification. (sellers & buyers)
  • Your personal checkbook for miscellaneous items and/or adjustments. (sellers & buyers)
  • Certified check or cashier’s check drawn in Buyer’s name or whatever the conveying attorney specifies for the difference between the sale price of the property and the amount of the mortgage less any deposit already made. The final amount will be spelled-out in detail on the form known as the HUD1. (buyers)
  • At the closing, the bank may require 2-3 months tax payment (to be held in Escrow by the Bank); PMI when applicable will be collected for the first year. The exact amount can be obtained from the mortgaging bank prior to the closing; it will be spelled-out in detail on the  HUD1. (buyers)
  • Additional fees can be paid with cash or personal checks. The exact amount can be obtained from the bank’s attorney prior to or at the closing. (buyers)
  • Personal property of the sellers can be paid with cash or personal checks. (buyers)
  • Remaining fuel oil in the oil tank (if applicable) can be paid with cash or personal checks. (buyers)
  • Paid insurance policy or binder for the new property (whichever the conveying attorney specifies) in an amount equal to the amount of the mortgage. Ask your insurance agent for advice on this matter. (buyers)
If you had to choose would you pick a bigger backyard or a bigger house?

If you had to choose would you pick a bigger backyard or a bigger house?

Whenever anyone engages me a conversation about real estate (which is quite often) or when I’m at a party and need a little conversation starter I ask “If you had to choose would you pick a bigger backyard or a bigger house?” You’d be amazed at the answers I get. There is one consistent response. The answer I get the most is … “It depends on how you live your life”.

If you’re wrestling with this very question, I think the best thing you can do is make a personal list of pros and cons to help you with making the decision. Here are some of the responses I’ve gotten, I hope they might help you jump start your own list.

Reasons to go with a bigger yard:

  1. Having other houses close to you an issue
  2. Less house to keep clean and the kids can play outside
  3. Vegetable and flower gardens, picnics and campfires
  4. Active kids with any sport involving a ball and a stick
  5. Beautiful weather year-round makes the yard an extension of the house
  6. Large animal pets, barnyard animals, chickens
  7. Enjoy working outside
  8. Bigger house is just too expensive to maintain/clean/heat/keep cool/etc.
  9. You can always add on to your house but you won’t be able to add on to your lot size
  10. A larger yard tends to mean more privacy
  11. Hate house work and cleaning
  12. The amount of time, energy, and effort to maintain a big house is too much
  13. Bigger house means you have to own more stuff to fill it … just too much temptation to accumulate stuff.
  14. Yard is more environmentally friendly than house
  15. Like big kid toys like motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats, etc.

Reasons to go with a bigger house:

  1. Grew up in Cambridge, what’s a yard for?
  2. With unpredictable weather a bigger house gives you more inside space to spend your time
  3. Really love house cleaning (yes, some people really do)
  4. Large yards take lots of maintenance
  5. Into crafts and cooking and love to entertain
  6. More storage space
  7. Hate yard work and it’s just a burden
  8. If you can afford a housekeeper, a bigger house is all living space
  9. Additions are expensive if you need them later
  10. Public parks are everywhere and they’re free
  11. You’re in your house more than you’re outside in general
  12. We went from a small house and a bigger yard to a bigger house and smaller yard and I definitely like the bigger house
  13. A large home is the home of our dreams
  14. A large home stimulates more social interaction among the members of the family
  15. Really love to decorate

As I said before, your decision really depends on how you live your life. I personally don’t think there really is any one right answer for everyone, but the results of my totally unscientific research suggest that the majority of people tend to want a bigger yard.

Buy or Rent, What Makes More Sense for You?

Buy or Rent, What Makes More Sense for You?

Why It Makes Sense to Own Your Own Home

You’ve probably seen lots of financial arguments about why you should own your own home rather than rent. This includes budgeting (no rent increases) and the tax savings you’ll most likely have. Here are some reasons you probably haven’t heard.

Freedom to pursue other goals in life once the major goal of home ownership is achieved: Strange as it sounds, many of my first-time buyers have told me that once they bought the house, other things in their life started to fall into place. It’s as if not owning took so much of their mental energy that other goals were not worked on until that big goal was reached. So buy a home and get on with your life.

A greater sense of belonging to the community: Once you own a home, you feel more attached to the city in which you live. You’re more interested in what happens in town, to the roads, schools, and shopping areas. Some people even become involved in local politics, which you seldom see a renter do.

A commitment to something, a sense of stability: Home ownership is an anchor, something that cannot be pulled out from under you. You’ll never get a notice that you have to move. You’re kids will never have to change schools. It gives you freedom to plan years ahead.

You can change things, a feeling of being in control: It’s your home. You can add to it, remodel it, change the landscaping, do whatever projects you want. You have a feeling of being in control of something in your life. At work we don’t always have control of what happens, but your home is your castle that you have dominion over. You can see what you’re building take shape before your eyes.

More control over the children than in an apartment complex: In a neighborhood, kids usually play in the yards or go to friend’s houses a few doors away. My clients have told me that in an apartment complex they never knew where the kids were. They could be in any of hundreds of apartments, doing who knows what. In a home you get to know the neighbors and watch out for each other’s kids.

Children do better in school and feel more secure: This one surprised me, but buyers have reported to me that their kids calmed down in school after they bought a house. I don’t know why, but it seems to work that way. I remember a single mom watching her son play in the yard, making steps in the slope and building things. She didn’t have to tell him to leave everything alone, like she did at the apartment complex. I guess kids feel the same need for control we adults do.

Time and money saved by not going to the Laundromat: A small point, but if you have kids, you know the value of this one. You gain a whole evening a week when you buy a house! The wash gets done in between other things, or while you’re at work. What would you do with the extra evening you’ll have? How about going out for dessert with your spouse with all those quarters?

Why It Makes Sense to Rent Your Home

It seems that buying a home is more costly – and time demanding – that renting a home. However, if you can comfortably afford to do so, and you have plans to stay at your location for a while, buying a home has significant advantages.

Financially, owning a home is often promoted as a better choice than renting. Currently, there are significant federal and state tax breaks … homeowners can claim deductions for real estate property taxes and for the interest paid on their mortgage each year. In addition, long term homeowners build equity both by paying down their mortgage and when their home appreciates in value.

Many savvy home buyers increase their equity more quickly by buying homes that need cosmetic improvements (such as decorating) rather than structural renovation (walls need moving). These minor improvements can significantly increase the value of a home over a relatively short period of time with a modest investment.

However, there are times when renting a home is the more sound choice to make. For example, if you are only going to be at your place for a couple of years, it makes no sense to buy the home, as this would be the more expensive endeavor. If you buy or sell in a short period of time, you may actually lose equity.

Also, renting also makes good sense if you’ve identified the general area in which you want to live but haven’t made a final decision as to the specific neighborhood. If you don’t know whether you’ll feel comfortable in a particular neighborhood, it may be better to rent a house or an apartment there for 6 months or a year, to get more comfortable with it.

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